Sleeping Madness

If there's ground to be broken, you're better off doing it yourself. It's been three years since we last heard anything from Japan's resident dance superstar ...

If there’s ground to be broken, you’re better off doing it yourself. It’s been three years since we last heard anything from Japan’s resident dance superstar [a]Ken Ishii[/a], when the epic techfunk of his second album, ‘Jelly Tones’, caught us by surprise. Frankly though, we weren’t about to send the search party over to Tokyo. We weren’t, we thought, [I]that[/I] desperate.

Enter Ken once more, this time at the rotten end of a bad year, and suddenly, just for an hour, things don’t seem so grim out there. Trippedout stellartrance? Sprawling cyberjazz odysseys? Elastic dubhouse confusion? Ken can oblige and, with ‘Misprogrammed Day’ and ‘BuggedIn Fusion’, does so admirably. Indeed, so committed is Ishii to the cause of making music sound, as it should, like [I]”MUSIC!”[/I] that he trawled the globe in search of likeminded artists for collaborations. OK, so he ended up with Talvin Singh and New York avantgardener DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, but still puts them to fine, inventive use on, respectively, percussion marathon ‘Water’ and expansive funk essay ‘Enso Online’.

Lacking the anal studio precision which often dulls his cuttingedge compatriots, Ishii’s is a warm, welcoming and enthusiastically experimental sound. He’s surprised us again, then. We could get used to it.

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